Ultra Music Festival (UMF) is one of the biggest annual Dance Music festivals, held in Bayfront Park, Downtown Miami, USA. It is taking place usually on the last weekend of March. The story of success, friendship, lawsuit and death. That is Ultra Music Festival.
Ultra Music Festival was given birth to by two promoters based in Miami, USA with one thing in common- passion for electronic music and organizing parties. Alex Omes (former bouncer and Miami based promoter) and Russell Faibisch (Miami based promoter) met back in 1998 when Russel was placing ads for an event he was organizing. After clicking over the same taste and love for electronic music Alex and Russell became friends. They started brainstorming about how they will make a festival on the beach in Miami, during the time of the year the WMC is taking over the city. The name of the festival “Ultra” was inspired by Russell attending a Depeche Mode show back in 1993, and deciding to name the festival in honor of the group, to their 1997 album Ultra.
In 1999 the first edition of the Ultra Music Festival was held and it took place in the Collins Park, Miami’s South Beach. Funny story is that hours before the first Ultra began, Russell was pulled over by the Police and arrested. He was locked away in jail, as hours to Ultra’s first ever edition were ticking away. And everybody were waiting on him, because he had with him the checks to pay the workers and companies, who otherwise would not let the event go through before getting paid. Luckily after spending 8 hours in jail he was released and headed straight to Collins Park taking care of the payments and officially giving green light for the event! Over 10 000 ravers came to dance under the spins of Paul Van Dyk, Josh Wink, Rabbit in the Moon, DJ Baby Anne and others. Although the young promoters were at loss of around 20 000$, the debut edition of the festival was consider a success and so history was in the making.
The first edition of Ultra, as a modest beach festival at the time.
The next edition of the festival, in 2000 was very successful attracting a greater crowd of 23 000 people. This meant the event had to find a bigger location. So in 2001 UMF moved to its current home, the Bayfront Park. From 2001 to 2005 (included) UMF was held at Bayfront Park, but changed locations yet again from 2006. From 1999 until 2006 the UMF was held as a one-day festival. Since 2010, the event is a 3-day event. Few years back, UMF expanded onto 2 weekends as a way to celebrate 15 years since it started back in 1999.
The UMF crew hasn’t waited too long, before taking advantage of the high interest of people across the World towards the festival. Over the years UMF has expanded its boarders across the World, taking the brand in Ibiza, Spain, Buenos Aires, Argentina, Bogota, Colombia, Santiago, Chile, Sao Paulo, Brazil, Cape Town and Johannesburg, South Africa, Bangkok, Thailand, Seoul, South Korea and in Split and Hvar, Croatia. The UMF brand has proven to be a successful one, attracting hundreds of thousand EDM ravers to their Worldwide events, as part of the concept Road To Ultra Miami.
In 2013 Ultra landed in Croatia with a five-year agreement to organize the festival on Split’s football stadium Poljud. The first event took place between the 12th and the 14th of July 2013. The first two days were held at Split, with the final day of the festival on the island of Hvar, where the event was held in the Amfora Grand Beach Resort. The attendance over the entire festival was around 100 000 people from over 75 countries.
What to Expect At Ultra
Ultra Music Festival brings 8 stages, diverse and unique in their very own way. The Main stage is usually occupied by the EDM stars with mainstream and poppy sound such as Avicii, Axwell & Ingrosso, Guetta, Tiesto, Hardwell, Skrillex and the rest familiar faces we see on MTV and beverages commercials. Luckily that is not all UMF has to offer!
The Carl Cox and Friends Arena is the place at UMF for some quality Techno Music! All you have to do is just step inside the arena and forget about time, and all your worries! The stage is named after Carl Cox, because of his dedication and being part of the UMF from the very beginning. Thus for years, he has had the honor of hosting his own little festival inside the festival and having regularly on the line-up Techno stars such as Adam Beyer, Luciano, Loco Dice, Richie Hawtin, Marco Carola, John Digweed, as well as more Deep and Tech House DJ’s such as Hot Since 82, MK, Eats Everything, Yousef and many many other. Carl Cox is of course the one headlining the arena, and playing the closing sets.
For the 2015th edition of the festival Ultra included an underground music stage, which coincidentally was named The Resistance Stage. UMF described their debut stage in a rather passionate and lyrical style. “It’s the urge to go against the grain, to step out of the box, to move away from the norm and challenge yourself to experience something new– to break down boundaries and barriers and abandon your comfort zone- to be able to open your eyes and ears to an undiscovered realm of electronic music”. Over the course of the 3 days at UMF, the people who visited The Resistance stage witnessed some premier Techno House from the likes of Art Department, Apollonia, Dixon, Guy Gerber, The Martinez Brothers, Martin Buttrich, Jamie Jones, Joris Voorn, Joseph Capriati, Maceo Plex, Mano Le Tough, Nic Fanculli, Pete Tong, Sasha, Tale of Us, tINI and more. Let’s hope that by diversifying and giving stage to more styles of Electronic Music, UMF has reached the fans and widened their perception and taste in House Music.
The other stages at UMF include the Live Stage which in 2015 included Live acts from Royksopp, Todd Terje, Claptone, Goldfish, Chromeo, Odesza, Klingande, Kygo, Clean Bandit and more. Ultra Worldwide is the stage to a mixture Electronic Music styles. In 2015 UMF attendees witnessed DJ sets from the legendary Deep Dish, Bonobo, Tensnake, The Magician, Klangkarussell, to EDM stars such as Zeds Dead, Dirty South, Cedric Gervais, Laidback Luke and other. The smaller stages at Ultra include the UMF Radio stage, the UMF Stage 7 and the UMF Oasis stage. As controversial and too mainstream Ultra Music Festival is for the true House Music fans, in recent years we have clearly seen that the UMF crew is trying to shake and freshen things up by giving the visitors a chance to choose for themselves, what to listen and dance to. Is more Underground sound coming to the UMF Worlwide brand and its festival merchandise over the Planet? We shall see in the next months and years to follow.
WATCH THE OFFICIAL AFTERMOVIE FOR ULTRA RESISTANCE 2015
Visit Ultra Music Festival
HOW TO GET THERE
To search for flights to Miami, USA go to one of the following links:
You can purchase tickets over at UMF’s Official website. You can find several packages to suit your needs (and wallet).
Ultra does not offer any accommodation within the festival’s site, but does offer hotels from their partnership network. Click here to view the hotel options. Bear in mind that most of the hotels are pricey. If you wish not to empty your savings all on your accommodation, you can visit the following websites to find a cheaper place for your stay at Miami.
Go to Trip Advisor and click on All Hotels & Vacation Rentals to search for short term accommodation in Miami.
Go to Airbnb to search for short term accommodation during your stay in Miami.
We hope you have enjoyed our guide to Ultra Music Festival, and to see you there next year.
Images copyrights Ultra Music Festival and Sara Ginn Photography.